Clinical Profile, Risk Factors, and Therapeutic Outcome of Cavitating Fungal Pneumonia Coinfection in COVID-19 Patients: A Retrospective Analysis

Recent Adv Antiinfect Drug Discov. 2022;17(3):167-177. doi: 10.2174/2772434417666220720122042.


Background: An end to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic appears to be a distant dream. To make matters worse, there has been an alarming upsurge in the incidence of cavitating invasive fungal pneumonia associated with COVID-19, reported from various parts of the world including India. Therefore, it remains important to identify the clinical profile, risk factors, and outcome of this group of patients.

Methods: Out of 50 moderate to severe COVID-19 inpatients with thoracic computed tomographic (CT) evidence of lung cavitation, we retrospectively collected demographic and clinical data of those diagnosed with fungal pneumonia for further investigation. We determined the association between risk factors related to 30-day and 60-day mortality.

Results: Of the 50 COVID-19 patients with cavitating lung lesions, 22 (44 %) were identified to have fungal pneumonia. Most of these patients (n = 16, 72.7 %) were male, with a median (range) age of 56 (38-64) years. On chest CT imaging, the most frequent findings were multiple cavities (n = 13, 59.1 %) and consolidation (n = 14, 63.6 %). Mucormycosis (n = 10, 45.5 %) followed by Aspergillus fumigatus (n = 9, 40.9 %) were the common fungi identified. 30-day and 60-day mortalities were seen in 12 (54.5 %) and 16 (72.7 %) patients, respectively. On subgroup analysis, high cumulative prednisolone dose was an independent risk factor associated with 30-day mortality (p = 0.024).

Conclusion: High cumulative prednisolone dose, baseline neutropenia, hypoalbuminemia, multiple cavities on CT chest, leukopenia, lymphopenia and raised inflammatory markers were associated with poor prognosis in severe COVID-19 patients with cavitating fungal pneumonia.

Keywords: Aspergillosis; COVID-19; fungal infection; mucormycosis; patients; pulmonary cavity.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Coinfection* / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human* / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia* / complications
  • Prednisolone
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Prednisolone